Democrats Abroad Australia elected its national officers at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, 18 March 2017. Congratulations to its newly elected officers:
Chair: Umme Sarah Hoque
Vice Chair: Kent Getsinger
Secretary: Kito Alvarez
Treasurer: Mark Evans
Counsel: Lisa Lombardi
Thank you to everyone who ran for office, including candidates Michael Ramos, Elizabeth Cage, Evan Leandro and Saun Mowrey.
Following are the results of the election, which includes the tally of the votes cast at the AGM in person or via WebEx and the absentee ballots which all DAA members had the opportunity to cast up until 24 hours before the start of the AGM.
Umme Sarah Hoque: 57
Michael Ramos: 56
Elizabeth Cage: 53
Kent Getsinger: 39
Evan Leandro: 15
Democrats Abroad requires gender diversity for the positions of Chair and Vice Chair. Members of DA Australia were informed prior to voting that only the votes of the Vice Chair of the opposite gender of the person elected Chair would be counted.
Kito Alvarez: 60
Shaun Mowrey: 40
Mark Evans as the sole candidate was elected by unanimous assent at the AGM.
Lisa Lombardi as the sole candidate was elected by unanimous assent at the AGM.
There were abtensions from voters in the races for Vice Chair and Secretary which account for the differences in the tallies for the 3 contested races.
Verification of Election Results
Chris Stueckle, Teller of the Election, has verified the election results. All voters were confirmed as members of Democrats Abroad Australia in order to count their vote. In accordance with section 17.8 of the DA Australia by-laws and the absentee ballot instructions, absentee ballot votes were accepted from members whose email address matched the voter's email address in the records of Democrats Abroad. Where the email addresses did not match, the voter was informed prior to the AGM and notified of the opportunity to cast a vote during the AGM. The Teller of the Election and the Election Committee assistants Ersie Burke and Lisa Lombardi each counted the votes three times and ensured that only one vote was cast from a DAA member.
Minutes from the AGM will be circulated this week. The new board is currently being set up with full access to the Democrats Abroad Australia database, bank account, and social media.
Thank you to all DAA members who voted in the election and AGM. We had an unprecedented level of turn out. We look forward to DAA members involvement under the leadership of its newly elected national officers.
Following are the candidate statements for those running for Democrats Abroad Australia national Executive Committee officers. The statements are presented here for those who have trouble accessing the concise version of candidate statements on Scribd.
Democrats Abroad Australia will elect its Executive Committee representatives at our national AGM on Saturday, 18 March in Sydney. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order for each role. Members of DA Australia will vote for officers by registering for the AGM or submitting an absentee ballot.
The duties of the roles at the national and international level are broadly outlined here. The ExCom officers also provides support to the DA Australia local chapters.
Chair Candidate: Umme Sarah Hoque
"The here and now is all we have. And if we play it right, it’s all we’ll need. “ - Former Texas Governor Ann Richards
I am nominating because of the here and now. Our party and our country need to be revived. And it is up to all of us to play it right at this moment.
Growing up a woman, a first generation American of Bengali and Muslim heritage, a progressive in a small town in Texas, I have learned the importance of the here and now - the moments that determine the outcomes for the future. And the importance of bringing everyone together to address not only issues locally, but also Federally and even internationally. I have seen individuals, communities and a society that needed - and needs - hope and a vision. And the is what has motivated me throughout my life.
Inspired by the need to create this hope and vision for a better future, I have been involved in our Democratic party for nearly 15 years. I have worked tirelessly in the deep South and mid-West, especially in Texas and Ohio Congressional and local elections, to turn counties blue through personal volunteering and professional work during the 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 elections before moving to Australia in 2011.
During my day job, I work in community and union campaigning, including organising and communications, to utilise public interest and strength to ensure a better, more progressive future. I have been working for nearly 10 years to motivate and move people, to engage them by tapping into their issues and activating them for a bigger fight and to use this strength to influence decision makers and corporations to make real changes. My work experience is available on: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ummesarahhoque It is these skills I want to bring to Democrats Abroad.
My passion and profession is social justice campaigning, fighting for the rights of workers, migrants, women and environmental justice. I am passionate about building and exercising the power of the collective to win, combining clever online campaigning alongside power on the ground, including marches, protests and stunts. Right now, the US needs strong Democrats and our collective voice more than ever. We have an opportunity to revise the narrative in the United States and harness the power of the resistance movement to be strategic and change the future of our country. Our time is now, and we must utilise it.
That is why I want to utilise what we have here in Australia and now with this moment in the dark days of Trump’s presidency. Because I believe this is what we need – to move forward, to move together and to be strategic and thoughtful to give hope to Democrats in the US and around the world. Our role of Democrats is not to give up - it is to respond, to be active and to be proactive in our belief for the future of our country.
I am motivated to nominate for Democrat Abroad positions because I believe that our party is in disarray. After the horror of the 2016 election, it is important that we revive and rebuild our party to be one that leads with a vision of what we believe in - social justice. Our differences make us stronger, and by harnessing our collective power and wisdom, we can revolutionise our country to increase the minimum wage, hold corporations to account, address wealth inequality, provide health care for everyone, address climate change, and ensure and grow rights for all minority groups, including immigrants, LGBTQI people, disabled individuals and everyone else.
If elected, I will work hard to make Democrats Abroad Australia an active chapter, organising and campaigning to fix our party and influence fellow Democrats and our US politicians. I will use the skills I have developed through successful campaigning to activate, develop and engage members and involve Democrats Abroad Australia in the current fight at home. This includes bringing together Democrats and growing our movement, organising and holding lobbying activities and events, taking part in and organising solidarity events and being proactive and communicative across Australia about issues of shared concern - and solutions to address them.
Thank you. Please contact me on 0468 427 640 or Sar.Hoq@gmail.com if you have any questions.
Please contact me on 0468 427 640 or Sar.Hoq@gmail.com if you have any questions.
Chair Candidate: Michael Ramos
With this statement I declare my candidacy for chairperson of Democrats Abroad-Australia (DAA). My experience:
- I am a proud member of DAA-Victoria. During my membership I have joined in with DAA colleagues in voicing opposition to the Trump administration, participated in letter-writing campaigns and petitions, and contributed my ideas to the global DA leadership’s “Action/Rapid-Response” team.
- I have personally worked under three members of Congress in both district and Capitol Hill offices. While serving as a staffer to three congresspersons (U.S. Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL-17), U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), and U.S. Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL-17)), I drafted several pieces of legislation, wrote numerous congressional speeches, communicated regularly with the press, resolved constituents’ issues and concerns with the federal government, and much, much more. I possess knowledgeable insight and experience into the Legislative Branch and am willing and able to contribute significantly to matters related to DAA, such as how to effectively communicate with senators and representatives.
- While on the campaign trail of five successful congressional races (those listed above in addition to the campaigns of U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-01), U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), I pounded the pavement knocking on thousands of doors, registered voters, distributed absentee ballot requests, organized fundraisers, conducted GOTV efforts, supervised hundreds of volunteers, and more. I have also worked on three presidential races; all of these campaign roles included grassroots organizing and effective communications with both the campaigns and everyday voters. In short, I know what it takes for Democrats to win.
As your DAA chair, I will use my political experience to join with you in pushing legislators for reforms in addition to actively being engaged in DAA activities throughout Australia. I firmly believe that now is the time to build on the solid work already done by our DAA predecessors. All of us are democracy stakeholders with voices needing to be heard by policymakers back in Washington, D.C.
My priorities as your DAA chairperson: *Immediately engage with DAA members to bring in any and all ideas. *Prioritize efforts on the 2018 congressional mid-term elections. *Ensure that every DAA member has the contact information for their specific members of Congress, and document how they respond to our issues, concerns, questions, and requests. *Protect our right to vote. *Conduct a letter-writing campaign asking congresspersons to join the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus and the Congressional Friends of Australia Caucus. *Invite guest speakers (i.e. academic experts on U.S. politics; union leaders) to DAA meetings. *Urge Congress to reform citizenship-based taxation to residence-based taxation. *Utilize DAA communication tools more often: use of the press and online media to get our message out (i.e. letters-to-the-editor, press releases, peaceful protests involvement). *Produce brief videos of our membership explaining our very real concerns and how they affect us. *Work with other groups whenever mutual goals are concerned.
The above-mentioned are only my highest priorities. I have many more ideas that I would like to share with the DAA membership and implement with your vote of confidence. Despite the long road ahead, I am motivated and prepared to take action but I cannot achieve these goals alone. I respectfully request your vote to be DAA chairperson because I am ready to work and lead with you in securing a Democratic Congress and White House.
About me: U.S. citizen and patriotic expat. Born in the Midwest. Raised on the east coast (“home”/voting address in Illinois). Former enlisted Marine. Married to an amazing Aussie of which we have two children. Reside in northern Melbourne suburbs. Associate member of the National Tertiary Education Union. Member of the American Political Science Association. Unapologetic progressive Democrat.
My education: Associate degree (political science) completed at Black Hawk College, Moline, IL. Bachelor of Arts degree (political science) completed at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC. Diploma of Government, Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE. Currently working part-time on a postgraduate degree at La Trobe University, Melbourne. My thesis topic is analyzing the unique challenges facing U.S. citizens living abroad and how Congress can better assist them.
Like you, I understand the seriousness of the political challenges we face, especially the additional barrier of residing abroad. If I am given the honor of becoming your chair, I assure you that I bring both experience and enthusiasm to DAA. To the best of my ability I will devote my attention to your ideas and comments, and encourage any DAA member to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, @MRamosDC on Twitter, or 0452 394 955. Thank you kindly for your consideration.
VICE CHAIR CANDIDATES
Vice Chair Candidate: Elizabeth Cage
I’m an American-Australian – an immigrant and dual-citizen, resident of Sydney for nearly 17 years. I vote in Virginia.
- Originally from Chicago. Lived for various lengths of time in Washington DC, New York City, and Baltimore and also worked on political campaigns in North Carolina, California, Nevada, and Virginia.
- Hold a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science, Portland State University; MA in Int’l Communications, Macquarie University; and an M Litt in US Studies from the University of Sydney.
- I have just come home from a mid-life gap year spent travelling, on my own, including some 4700 kilometres by bicycle in Europe and Australia. I’m slowly blogging my way through the journey here: www.elizabetheverettcage.com
- I returned from that journey and then the Republicans nominated a fascist so I wrote this op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/donald-trump-has-scared-me-back-into-politics-the-similarities-between-nazism-and-trumpism-20160719-gq8roh.html
- I spent four months volunteering with the Hillary Clinton campaign in Virginia.
- Before I’d even gotten on the plane to come home I’d put my hand up to help with the Women’s March, Sydney. I became one of the lead organisers and spokespeople for that event – including doing this live-cross to BBC World from my bedroom - https://vimeo.com/200530374
What I’d like to achieve as Democrats Abroad, Australia’s Vice-Chair:
- Work to identify, register to vote, and engage with as many of the US citizens living in Australia as possible.
- Work to channel the energy of woke Americans living abroad into the efforts to elect Democrats wherever they may run.
- Develop a stronger grass roots community of Democrats Abroad through Meet-Ups or Huddles – more groups in more places.
- Spread the workload and develop capacity by recruiting more members to take leadership roles and responsibilities – as local organisers, social media managers, committee chairs, etc
- Look for opportunities for Democrats Abroad to partner with like-minded Australian groups.
More on my political/professional background:
- 15 years handling media and PR for Major League Baseball International (Sydney)
- Member of Democrats Abroad since 2004 (or so)
- Steering committee member: Peter Garrett for Kingsford-Smith (2004)
- National Advance Staff 1996 Presidential Election and the Clinton White House from 1994-1996
- Campaign Manager for state house and state senate primary races in Oregon (1994)
- Office of Presidential Correspondence, the White House (1993)
- Media logistics on the Presidential Inaugural Committee (1992-3)
- California Democratic Party Presidential Student Corps Intern in the Los Angeles media office (1992)
- Delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention from Oregon’s 4th CD
- District office intern for Congressman Peter DeFazio (D OR-4)
- Co-founder of College Democrats at both University of Oregon and Portland State University
- Volunteer, Harvey Gantt for US Senate, Charlotte NC (1990)
- Further details here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethcage/
Vice Chair Candidate: Kent Getsinger
I'm proud to announce my candidacy for Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Australia.
19 years ago when I turned 18, I eagerly submitted my voter registration for the Democratic Party to be part of a political process that fought for working people, minorities and the oppressed.
Having contributed heavily through canvassing, calling and door-knocking in the months leading up to 2008 election for Barack Obama, it wasn’t until the primaries of 2016 that I saw a candidate who truly embodied the spirit of the Democratic Party.
Last year, I volunteered for the Bernie Sanders campaign from my garage – getting up nearly every morning at 4am to make calls before work – some days I would take annual leave so that I could phonebank all day. I have never been so inspired by such a transformative public servant. This daily activism has carried through to the efforts of volunteering for Our Revolution and We the People Collective in which I am now still actively involved.
I have been a resident of Australia for 6 years now and live in Adelaide, SA after having lived the bulk of that time in Melbourne, VIC. For the past 5 years, I continue to be a leader Delegate and Branch Committee Member of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) where I have actively pushed for improvements for working conditions, protection for the most vulnerable people and nationwide solidarity with preserving the working protections, universal medical coverage, public services and other benefits we Australians enjoy that we Americans do not.
This experience as an Australian strengthens my belief in core American values – and values that I feel embody the Democratic Party. Having seen the rise of Trump (and its affiliated, frightening far-right counterparts the world over), I cannot sit by and not use my organising potential to serve the country and party I call home.
We will defeat Trump and the Republican by empowering individuals, by creating a power structure that comes in the truest democratic form. This means organising at the local level, this means regular meetings and helping others in their local efforts to connect and build. We cannot hope for great leadership, we must bravely
Democrats Abroad needs strong, bold, and progressive leaders to organize, mobilize, and lead its global GOTV efforts. We ultimately need to promote growth and work towards creating chapters and country committees that become sustainable and scalable so that they may endure various leadership cycles – this will occur when involvement is not just duty but a desire to be committed to a cause. The movement needs to continue by manifesting itself into actively recruiting Americans abroad to get involved in Democrats Abroad and ultimately vote in elections.
It is with this conviction in my experience of organising and bringing people together, I feel that we must organise like never before and come together around a unified base that can appeal to all voters and bring them to the Democratic Party. It is with my belief in empowering others to activism that I submit my name for nomination of Vice Chair Democrats Abroad Australia. I hope to have your vote at the AGM in mid-March.
Please contact me on email@example.com if you have any questions.
Vice Chair Candidate: Evan Lorendo
While I am new to Melbourne, I am not new to politics. I grew up in Georgia in one of the most conservative districts in the country. It was a place that was so steeped in bigotry that Oprah did a special show in the town discussing the issue of race. Being a Democrat carried with it a strong negative connotation, but I was raised to be open about who you are regardless how popular it may be. Being a liberal family in the traditional South brought with it some social headaches but that didn’t stop us from standing up for what we believed in.
I continued to define my beliefs while in college in Chicago by working on now Senator Tammy Duckworth’s first congressional campaign. While she lost the election in the wildly conservative suburbs, it propelled her to the national spotlight. I was then offered a position working with Senator Dick Durbin as an Urban Development Fellow. During my time in D.C. I saw the very best of what it meant to be a Democrat and the very worst.
I had a desire to live abroad and took a scholarship opportunity to get my Master’s Degree from the American University of Beirut. This led me on a professional journey across the Middle East and Africa with stops in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and Tanzania while working in a further dozen countries. I took this time to stay active in American politics through Democrats Abroad, if and where I could. I was involved as much as possible in getting Americans to vote during the last election cycle and was shortlisted by the Sanders campaign to be a delegate at the DNC.
While in Africa I met my Australian partner, Linda, and after a few years together we decided that it was time to put roots down somewhere and we decided on her home in Melbourne. I am very excited to get involved with such a vibrant and active Democrats Abroad community.
I am running for the Vice-Chair because I want to bring new ideas and energy to the group. I am a natural conduit and I want to connect as many people as possible to the group as well as letting them know that they can still be involved with American politics. I want to expand the organization across Australia. The current leadership worked hard to get the group this far. We are now at a critical mass that needs to be pushed forward and expanded.
I also am a strong believer in holding yourself accountable. I want to be better than the side that we are criticizing. I do not believe in spending time and energy by arguing over how orange the President looks or how bad his suit fits. Instead, I want to fight his misogyny and bigotry.
Thank you for reading this about me. I welcome any questions that you have and I really hope to be your next Vice-Chair. You can contact me on 0431160269 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Secretary Candidate: Kito Alvarez
The time is now. I put my hand up to serve, not because of me, but we.
We must resist Trump and fight the Republicans.
No more tears, sorrows, or frustrations. No more casting stones. It’s time to get in the ring and get involved. We must harness our collective strength and channel it into renewed energy for ourselves and for our Democratic Party. We must be there for each other like we’ve never been before.
We must be bold.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the queer son of Filipino immigrants, I saw the world through colourful lenses. I knew nothing else but to be bold. We must stand up for each other’s dignity. My neighbours were mostly Black, Latino and Polynesian. Some had papers and others didn’t. All chasing American Dreams, united, creating community, recognising each other’s humanity. This is the America I know.
We must organise.
With supposedly 100,000 Americans living in Australia, there’s nothing to stop us from building upon the community we’ve already created.
We must mobilise.
We will identify and recruit fellow Americans from Perth to Cairns. We will run voter registration drives from Darwin to Hobart, creating strong chapters in every major city across Australia. We will phone bank, get out the vote and run solidarity actions proving the Pacific Ocean will be no barrier to the values that we demand.
We must activate.
With a strong passion for social and economic justice, I can offer up 15 years of experience in worker, community and political organising both at home and abroad. I envision Democrats Abroad meetings of involved members with deep built relationships running various committees. We will utilise our membership’s talents and build capacity towards winning the collective goals we set forth, whether it’s holding Trump-friendly corporations to account, taking action on climate change or standing up for refugees. We will be active.
We will be represented.
Transparency and accountability is crucial. We need our Party and DA to represent its members. DA leadership, including those that sit on the DNC, need to proactively engage and listen to the voices of rank and file members and represent them to its fullest. The status quo and corporate Democracy will not be tolerated.
We will do whatever it takes.
If you’re in, I’m in. I would only be so humbled to work for we.
Contact me on email@example.com if you have any questions.
Secretary Candidate: Shaun Mowrey
I am committed to progressive values and the issues that are important to citizens living abroad, whether visas, social security, taxation, or international repute. I believe Democrats Abroad have an important and underestimated role to play in electing progressive candidates and holding our officials accountable in the age of Trump, and I’m excited to offer my skills and experience with DA Australia as we move into the future.
I’ve lived in Australia for almost ten years after moving here from Washington State to study. During studies I met my partner, Daniel, and we have lived together in Western Sydney for about seven years. I grew up in a Republican household but became a progressive after moving here and gaining some new perspective. The diversity of my experience helps me help others to understand issues in new ways. I’m passionate about politics and feel fortunate (—a lot of people wouldn’t call it that!) to now be able to participate in not just one, but two systems of government.
I’ve held leadership positions professionally for the last few years in Australia’s largest insurance conglomerate, where I currently work as a people and operations manager. I have experience in leadership, organising and administrating volunteers and resources, strategy, planning, and reporting. I’ve been instrumental in various grassroots projects for diversity and inclusion, such as the forming of an LGBTIQ employee network and the design and rollout of an inclusion-centered leadership training pack to thousands of managers.
As National Secretary I will work with the executive committee to apply my skills in Get Out the Vote and other member outreach initiatives to grow our membership, lobby our issues, and elect more progressive Democrats in US elections.
I would appreciate your consideration and your vote for me, Shaun Mowrey, to serve as National Secretary. I’ve prepared a brief video here: https://youtu.be/9A2BMrV8vxM. I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0435528344 if you have any questions.
Treasurer Candidate: Mark Evans
I am a native Pennsylvanian who has been living in Sydney, Australia for over 3 years. Currently, I am a Project Manager overseeing a multi-million dollar annual budget for the U.S. Government in Washington DC while teleworking from Australia.
Last summer I returned to the United States where I volunteered for a week at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. I am an active and passionate member of the LGBT community. You can find me most Friday afternoons at the Australian Marriage Equality shop on Oxford Street in Sydney, where I am a volunteer.
I believe we must fight hard to protect the progress Barack Obama has made and we must stand up to Donald Trump and keep him from implementing his extreme agenda. It would be an honor to be elected the Treasurer of Democrats Abroad Australia.
Legal Counsel Candidate: Lisa Lombardi
I have been active as a Democrat since 1980, my first election – I was living in Idaho, and it was very crushing to watch Senator Frank Church get beaten by Steve Symms. Alas, not the last time I have been surprised and disappointed by election results, and left wondering, how could anyone possibly choose that person over this one?
Since 1980, I have been active on campaigns at various levels. I managed a few local races. I volunteered on several state level races, Congress, Governor, state legislature. I then moved to Washington State – voila! Where Democrats actually win! The most prominent role I took there was to assist Lands Commissioner Jennifer Belcher in her race – my job was to hold down the loss in Eastern Washington so that the west side could carry her over the line. It worked, we won, and I got to go to the Governor’s Ball!
Then I went to law school, turning down an offer to run the Washington State Environmental Political Action Committee (WENPAC), and turning down an offer to be the first state coordinator in Idaho for the Western States Center. While in law school in Idaho, I still kept my hand in, and volunteered on Larry Echohawk’s gubernatorial campaign. (He lost, of course. Sigh.)
Then I moved to Australia, for a six-month project. That was almost 19 years ago – I met “the gent” and stayed, getting my practicing certificate along the way (I am licensed to practice in AU and the US). I have been on-and-off active in Dems Abroad in the Brisbane chapter, and this year got re-engaged. I have served as counsel before, and would be honoured to do so again, if elected.
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